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Pastor sentenced by the Venezuelan authorities

José Vivas was held in prison for a month after an irregular trial, due to a misinterpretation of a statement he made about the need to have spiritual freedom.

FUENTES Evangélico Digital AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus CARACAS 27 DE JULIO DE 2023 15:54 h
Venezuela March for Jesus 2022. / [link]Instagram March for Jesus Venezuela[/link]

After almost a year waiting, Pastor José Vivas was investigated and detained by the Venezuelan government due to a misinterpretation of his words at the opening of the 2019 March for Jesus.



During the event, the pastor, who before his conversion was an active Major of Venezuelan Military Aviation, stressed that the time had come for spiritual freedom for Venezuela.



The Venezuelan authorities took the speech as an offence to the regime of Nicolás Maduro, and the pastor was accused of misuse of uniforms and medals and military disobedience.



 



Irregular trial



An irregular trial in 2022 led the pastor to be jailed for a month at the headquarters of the General Directorate of Military Counter-intelligence.



Last month, a new ruling found him guilty of only one of the charges and acquitted of the other.



He was therefore released from prison and is now on parole, so that he will have to report to court every month for the next eight months, and will eventually be tried by the a court in a municipality of the centre of Venezuela.



 



Between gratitude and uncertainty



The situation worries the pastor's wife, who is pregnant, the couple's son, as well as the church where he has served for over ten years, because the new sentence could force him to return to the air base, far from his family and his ministry.



However, Vivas is grateful that he avoided the maximum prison sentence, which would keep him away from his family for a longer time than the sentence to return to the Air Force.



The Venezuelan basic law guarantees religious freedom in Article 59 of its Constitution, but cases like Pastor Vivas' are very common, with restrictions on freedom of expression of faith, since almost anything evangelicals say can be misinterpreted and lead to condemnation.


 

 


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